One way to know that you’re really busy is when a day ago seems like a distant memory. And that’s how I know that the BlackMilk team are extremely busy. We all agree that it seems like at least a month and not three measly days ago that we were standing in the rain filming the first shot of our latest short film … And believe it or not, the edit is done! Yes, grading, sound and everything!
You’ll be able to see the film on Sunday, October 9, at the Labia Theatre on Orange Street at 8pm as part of the shnit shortfilmfestival & shnit Real Time Competition, which will be judged by the audience, so please join us.
This all came into being about three weeks ago, while editing “Anna” (which is yet to be publicly screened, stay tuned!). We were honoured to be approached by the organisers of the Cape Town shnit shortfilmfestival to shoot a short film with a daunting time restriction. The film has to be completed within three days and they gave us a theme as well. The Cape of Storms, a theme we were allowed to warp in any way we wanted to.
Adamastor, the raging Greek titan was mentioned in the brief as well and his special mythical significance to the Cape storms and Table Mountain.
Ronnie and myself spent many hours working on the script, going back and forth with various ideas. Each time the story seemed too obvious, too predictable. We wanted to create a story that resonated with us, that would ignite the spark we both feel drives us towards the end of the various projects we create.
When writing, we often take the other two members of BlackMilk into consideration and this was no different. We wonder whether they will enjoy creating our vision. Will it be challenging enough for them but at the same time doable? Leon is very good at knowing if something is possible, and is very pragmatic. We often discuss key technical issues with him before finalising the script.
After creating at least ten possible options and stumbling through the quagmire of many dead ends, we came face to face with a creature summoned up from the darkest depths of our collected psyche … Which Esté soon named “Onrusbarend”.
Built from myths, dreams and distant memories, “Onrusbarend” has many references, most personal, many biblical and some very South African. Many were created intentionally; others on some deeper level which we only discovered while filming.
We knew from the start that we wanted it to begin with a narration. A voice which would subconsciously inform viewers about what was happening behind the costume and props of basic narrative. We immediately knew Esté was the right person to write this. And she didn’t disappoint. After trying various narrators we realised the voice viewers would hear must be hers.
Giving faces to the characters in a story was another daunting task, but we knew who we wanted to cast from the start. Jessica is an awesome actress and we worked so well with her on “Anna”. She had all the qualities we wanted and we were very relieved when she said yes to the role. I doubt we would have been able to find another actress as talented as her and willing to perform under the physical conditions the role demanded, especially on such short notice.
Planning is everything, and with a single day to film a complex tale, it’s doubly important to try have everything worked out to the ”T”. This isn’t always possible and there were a few small hiccups, mostly unavoidable… Some of them not and noted as errors, not to be made again.
But through the storm of shot lists, props and gaffer tape we sailed towards the final shot, then beyond, everyone manning their various stations and helping out where they can and with great success.
We’re looking forward to showing you our creation. We hope it’ll make you stop, feel and think or, in the very least, give you a moment of entertainment. Don’t forget to put October 9 into your diaries. See you at 8pm on Sunday evening at the Labia Theatre on Orange Street. Click here for the Facebook event.
All photos by Lohan Koegelenberg